words by Harriet Chubb

This conversation happened in the office about a month ago, Me; Have you heard of that new bootcamp in London – Barry’s Bootcamp? American colleague: ‘OMG Barry’s!? That’s the BEST bootcamp in the WORLD!’ At this point to me it still sounded slightly hysterical, let’s be honest, the name does make you want to giggle, and giggle most people did when I said to any British friend that I was trialling it for Hip and Healthy. My American friends however, know it to be, as previously mentioned, none other than THE Best Bootcamp in the world, and I think they could be right.

Embarrassingly I was late for my trial class and so I have to admit that it did all fly past in a whirl of sweat, lights and sounds. I profusely apologised for being late but the staff couldn’t have been more helpful and reassuring. Whilst grovelling however, I nearly missed the sheer quality and style of the gym space, coming in from the hectic Euston dual carriageway to the super sleek, super chilled area made me feel like I had stepped into a swish LA gym. This is where I fear that unless you are American, the name of the company doesn’t quite reflect the ultra luxurious and high-tech surroundings you are greeted with; not to mention a free towel service – one of the finest fitness services in life. The actual class space is made up of a row of up-to-the-minute treadmills across one side of the room and benches and equipment the other – all with 360 degree mirrors. What I loved about the room, however, was the lighting. I hate working out under the intimidating gaze of bare strip lighting but this is dark, dark with the occasional coloured light, reminiscent of a club. And who doesn’t look good under club lighting? I didn’t mind the mirrors at all and in fact they are necessary to make sure that you are doing the exercises using the correct techniques, something we are all guilty of from time to time.

The class was Core & Ab’s specific but I certainly felt it to be an all over body workout  with particular focus on core and ab exercises, I believe this is the same for all of the classes – there are many to choose from, Chest, Back & Abs, Full Body, you can work every area of your physique.  The classes are split up into treadmill and equipment work and it is dependent on the instructor how long you will stay on each but it’s normally 50/50 with a quick changeover – you certainly get a full 60 minutes of hardcore exercise, no faffing or long demonstrations, which I was grateful for. As the class got underway I noticed that the instructor referred to everybody by name, which is always an incredibly good sign of any fitness class. Equally, it can make you, the new person, experience the familiar ‘newbie’ pang of resentment (or welcome anonymity), however I was shocked when 30 seconds later she came over to me and said ‘keep going Harriet, well done!!’ I swear I did not tell her my name at the beginning of the class. Extremely impressive.

I am ashamed to say that I thought I had a reasonably (ok, average at best) fitness level but I found that I could only do about 60% of the class properly. When I say properly, I mean that I couldn’t quite run on the level they were asking me to and I couldn’t quite hold that plank or do another 20 reps of the floor exercises, but it didn’t matter, I still pushed myself to my limit and came out sweating as if I had just completed a hot yoga class. In fact, I was so impressed with the class that I have signed up to a month’s worth of pain, stay tuned and I will let you know how I got on…

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Visit www.barrysbootcamp.com for more details.